ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
Aussies to reveal squad for home World Cup campaign
Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry to headline Australia's 15-player squad for the T20 World Cup campaign they hope will yield a fifth title
15 January 2020, 11:30 AM AEST
Reigning world champions Australia are expected to reveal a full-strength squad for their T20 World Cup defense on Thursday as their preparations for the ICC tournament on home soil continue to build.
Australia’s squad will be unveiled in Melbourne – where the tournament final will be played at the MCG on March 8 – with the 15-player group headlined by captain Meg Lanning and star allrounder Ellyse Perry, who last week made a successful return from a shoulder injury playing for Victoria in the domestic 50-over competition.
Australia will name the same squad for both the World Cup, which kicks off in Sydney on February 21, and the upcoming CommBank T20I tri-series against England and India, a contest that will serve as preparation for the prestigious ICC event.
Given Australia’s spot at the top of the ICC rankings and their recent record in the 20-over game – they have lost just three matches in the format since the start of 2018 – little is expected to change from the group that whitewashed the West Indies and Sri Lanka late last year.
Speaking to cricket.com.au following the end of the Rebel WBBL season, Australia coach and selector Matthew Mott indicated they would stick to what has been a winning formula for his team across the last two years.
"Our top 12 will probably pick themselves and (after that) you look at who are potentially good impact players off the bench who can fill a couple of roles," Mott said.
The larger-than-usual squad of 15 has created opportunities for several players to join the group.
Among those pushing for a berth is experienced batter Elyse Villani, who was axed from the national side in September but has displayed strong form of late for both Australia A and Victoria.
Another contender is off-spinner Molly Strano, who played the last of her five T20Is for Australia in November 2017, but recently finished as the leading wicket-taker in Rebel WBBL|05 before collecting 12 wickets in six matches for Australia A in their recently completed limited-overs series against India A.
Smokies include the leading quick in the WBBL|05 wickets tally, Belinda Vakarewa, who has played a sole ODI for her country, and uncapped teenage allrounder Annabel Sutherland, who was touted as a potential World Cup bolter by Australia A coach Leah Poulton last month.
Another player who had been mooted for World Cup selection after a stunning Rebel WBBL campaign, former Australia batter Jess Duffin, is unavailable after announcing late last year that she is expecting her first child with husband Chris.
"I don’t envy the selectors having to settle on that final 15," Lanning said last week.
"It’s to be hard, there’s been some good performances not only from those in the squad but also from outside as well.
"(That’s) is a good thing, we’ve got some really good depth within Australian cricket now."
Meanwhile, allrounder Erin Burns and quick Tayla Vlaeminck were expected to be available for selection despite knee concerns keeping them out of the recent Women’s National Cricket League action.
Burns, an off-spinning allrounder who made her international debut in September, underwent arthroscopic surgery last week to remove a bone fragment in her knee, but was expected to have recovered in time for New South Wales’ next game on January 21.
Vlaeminck, who has a torrid history of knee injuries, suffered an ACL strain prior to Christmas that sidelined her from Victoria’s recent matches, but was tipped to be fit in time for the tri-series if selected.
The Australia squad will come together in Sydney on January 26 ahead of a warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI, before travelling to Canberra for their opening T20I tri-series match against England at Manuka Oval on February 1.
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 15: Australia v West Indies, Allan Border Field
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia’s matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network